Ten Reasons To Go To RIFF

Ten reasons why you should be excited about the 2012 Reykjavík Internation Film Festival
19.9.2012
Words by Mark O'Brien
It’s back! The Reykjavík International Film Festival storms into town later this month for its ninth consecutive year, bringing a host of special guests from around the world and a wealth of exciting, compelling brand new films and old favourites for an 10-day feast for movie-lovers. With the programme hot off the presses, here are 10 reasons why we’re super excited about this year’s edition.

1. Guests include incredible filmmakers from around the world

RIFF 2012 welcomes Iranian-French Director Marjane Satrapi, most famous for her 2007 cult hit ‘Persepolis,’ as this year’s keynote guest. After taking top honours at Cannes, Marjane went on to make her second feature ‘Chickens with Plums’ in 2011, narrating the last days of violinist Nasser Ali Khan. Both films will be screened at the festival. Alongside her, Italian cinematic giant Dario Argento’s career will be celebrated with a series of screenings. The man behind surreal horror classic ‘Suspiria’ and ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ Dario will also be hosting a masterclass before collecting this year’s lifetime excellence award.

2. Great German movies

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Iceland and Germany, RIFF makes the German connection one of the key themes this year. Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 ‘Metropolis’ will be shown—with music by Damo Suzuki, the singer from legendary German group Can. If that’s not enough to get you raising your beer steins and boiling your Bratwürste, you can also look forward to a photo-exhibition by German photographer and filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger.

3. A hardly ever seen before musical treat

Music lovers are in for a great ride this year, with the new Susan Froemke-diredcted ´Wagner´s Dream´on show, following the creation of the composer´s ‘Ring Cycle’ for the Metropolitan Opera. Elsewhere, you can check out ‘Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender’ and ‘Parallax Sounds,’ delving into the 1990s Chicago post-rock scene.

4. An underwater cinema

Don your swimming costume (after you’ve showered thoroughly, of course) and head to the Laugardalslaug swimming pool where they’re showing ‘Back To The Future’ and recreating Hill Valley High’s ‘Enchantment Under The Sea’ ball.

5. A first look at up-and-coming talent

An important part of the festival is its Talent Lab project giving young filmmakers making their debut or sophomore films the chance to come together, meet like-minded people and learn a thing or two. The team at RIFF 2012 tell us to look out for ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild,’ ‘Broken,’ ‘Moon Man’ and ‘L’Intervallo.’

6. Provocative documentaries

About 40% of the programme consists of documentaries, many of them focusing on human rights and environmental concerns. Dan and Noit Geva’s ‘Noise’ tells the story of one man with hyper-acoustic sensitivity living in Tel Aviv, one of the noisiest cities in the world. ‘Chasing Ice’ meanwhile followers a photographer on his toughest assignment yet, capturing images that chart the story of climate change.

7. An hour of sushi

One documentary that will certainly help you work up a good appetite is ‘Sushi: The Global Catch,’ which explores what the incredible boom in the sushi business worldwide means for the planet’s fish stocks.

8. The opportunity to release our inner gamer geek

RIFF 2012 is truly a twenty-first century film festival with a screening of ‘Indie Games,’ following game developers as they create and release their works around the world, alongside ‘We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists.’

9. Once again, someone will take home the coveted Golden Puffin

Forget the Palme d’Or. Yes, filmmakers in Reykjavík want to get their hands on The Golden Puffin, the main prize at the festival awarded to a director’s first or second feature in its competitive section called New Visions. Chair of the contest jury this year is Tribeca Film Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore.

10. It’s uniquely Icelandic

Above all, RIFF 2012 continues the festival’s quintessentially Icelandic tradition. Twenty Icelandic short films will be screened. And as well as the aquatic festivities at Laugardalslaug, you can even go and enjoy a screening at a cave forty-five minutes outside of Reykjavík! Teasingly, organisers won’t say what film or where the cave will be, but on October 5 head to City Hall where buses will take you away—and you’ll get to find out for yourself! NOTE: The cave screening was cancelled last year due to weather. Be sure to check the RIFF website before you get ready to go.

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